Shopping for dummies

Shopping for dummies

The holidays can be a stressful time.  When the stores are so packed that even the mannequins womannequins persons of quin dummies are standing in line, sometimes the easiest thing to do is just get everyone a gift card and be done with the whole process.

For those lucky shoppers who received gift cards for Christmas, and the time travelers for whom last-minute shopping is meaningless, the intrepid productologists at the Hammacher Institute for Unnecessary Technology and the Schlemmer Irrational Products Lab have created a new array of products, lovingly hand-crafted specifically for the post-holiday shopper. (Disclaimer: H-S has done no such thing, but I was visiting my parents in 1974 last week, and couldn’t post this.)

loro piana

The Loro Piana Letterman Jacket – $499.95
Once available only to members of the Loro Piana High School Class of 2004 football team, this wool jacket can allow anyone to feel like a Loro Piana Fighting Merino (7-4).  Fashioned from only the choicest team mascots, this jacket is crafted so that none of the sheep goes to waste.  The jacket is made from fine Merino wool, with lambskin leather sleeves, and banded cuffs, collar, and waistband made from 100% haggis.  Famed for their meticulous grading, Loro Piana lettermen force mathletes, straight-A students, and other nerds to pick out imperfections with tweezers.  Any sweater found with more than 2 imperfections results in a swirly for the geek in question.  For those of discerning taste, the jacket is updated with a satin lining, making it perfect for football games and alumni gatherings where the mere hint of a non-satin lining is enough to get you shunned, spat upon, or even swirlied like a mathlete.


The National Parks Viewing Scope – $4000
This powerful stationary viewer, which was definitely not stolen from a national park in the middle of the night, is perfect for observing your neighbors from a high-rise building, or a dolphin pod from the deck of your beach house.  (Dolphin pod, beach house, and interesting/attractive neighbors not included.)  The 360-degree swivel allows viewers to swing around to see what’s behind them, while the 30-degree vertical swivel allows the person behind them to watch as they plummet off the edge of a high-rise building or deck.  Similar to viewers seen on Boardwalk, the 20x magnification allows viewing of objects as far away as Short Line RR and Income Tax, while the 110-foot field of vision shows 55 pairs of shoes from up to 1000′ away.  The eyepiece sits 5 feet above the base, but the built-in, one-foot standing ring allows shorter viewers to join in the observation.  (Viewers taller than 5′, including most adults, can be shunned, spat upon, or even swirlied like a mathlete.)


The Only Gyroscopic Watch Winder – $18,000
Studies have shown that the worst problem with self-winding watches is that the lazy timepieces, once purchased, simply refuse to wind themselves, forcing the wearer to rely on expensive and time-consuming arm movements.  Now, for a fraction of the cost of the Apollo space program, you can purchase this precision wrist substitute, perfect for preventing disorientation in space.  Never again be forced to move your arms!  The winder uses three rotating axes to wind the watch, often without chopping the watch or its owner into tiny pieces.  Made in Germany by Döttling, renowned manufacturers of safes and jewelry boxes (but not gyroscopes or watches), this winder is hand-crafted over a four-week period.  (Disclaimer: All times approximate, as the manufacturers’ watches all stopped shortly after beginning.)

silk throw

The Silk Road Cashmere Throw – $199.95
Made from the luxuriously soft fibers of Cashmere goats from Inner Mongolia*, this throw is the perfect for tossing on a chair like an old blanket or a discarded candy wrapper.  With more subtle panache than that old  Inner Mongolian throw goat you have draped over the love seat, the throw is knitted with a high napability and loft, perfect for taking naps in your loft (not included).  Perfect for the husband seeking the rhetorical upper hand in marital disputes (“They’re Silk Road Throw Socks!” “At least when I watch basketball, they have free throws!”),  the throw makes a comfy blanket when sleeping on the couch afterwards.  Comes in red. (Disclaimer: You don’t want to know why.)

* 1% of all sales go toward the purchase of Angora sweaters for the now freezing Alashanzuoqi white cashmere goats.


The 50 Foot Snowball Launcher – $29.95
Perfect for softening up neighborhood defenses before your snowball drones begin mop-up operations.  Begin your own arms race with the kid down the street!  This snowball launcher allows even the youngest children to put someone’s eye out from up to 50′ away.  The power of elastomers means that your reign of terror will never have to stop for batteries.


The Always Accurate Adventurometer – $299.95
This device utilizes revolutionary technology to provide unerringly accurate adventurometric data 24 hours a day.  Its digital display combines with the analog dial to provide separate fun, boldness, and expected bodily harm readings, while the digital display by itself provides recovery time, rehab time, and an 87-year calendar to allow you to plan adventures up through 2100 A.D.  It receives radio signals six times per day from atomic clocks located in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, and China, ensuring precision timekeeping set to the wrong timezone up to 80% of the time.

elk driving gloves

The Scandavian Elk Driving Gloves – $149.95
Valued for their long-lasting durability since Late Paleolithic times, these are the perfect gloves to wear when driving your foot-powered car home from the rock quarry.  These gloves are made entirely from the leather of wild Scandanavian elks, except for the part that’s made of wild Scandanavian lambswool.  The elk leather comes from hides harvested by Late Paleolithic hunters, and tanned with vegetables harvested by Late Paleolithic gatherers, making these gloves as imperfect and uneven as the original animals.  Eventually, these gloves will conform to the shape of your hand, but only after years of uncomfortable, unreliable wear.


The World’s Only Self-Righting Object – $499.95
Since caveman times, humans and proto-humans have been forced to make do with objects that are homongeneous and convex, or convex and self-righting, or even homogeneous and self-righting, but never before have people been able to experience the joys of homogeneity, convexion, and self-righteousness all in one object.  Introducing the Gömböc, the first homogeneous, convex, self-righting thingamajig!  Mathematically impossible in two dimensions, and barely existing in three, the Gömböc requires an amazing four dimensions to express all of its rich, curvilinear existence.  It comes in a protective case to prevent dust from screwing it up, making it the perfect replacement for all those pebbles and pencils cluttering up your cleanroom, or those pesky limbless radiated 4D tortoises that just won’t right themselves.

zone jacket

The Three Zone Heated Jacket – $249.99
For those of us who have had it with those snobs at Loro Piano High.  This jacket has heating elements* in the chest and back to protect the wearer from all three major zones (Twilight, Phantom, and Red).  The elements provide quick, efficient, even heating at 4 temperatures (bake, broil, reheat, and high) for 2 1/2 to 10 hours, depending on elevation.  The slim-fitting jacket has a polyester lining that repels precipitation, nylon, and fleece for individuals who are precipitation-, nylon-, and/or fleece-intolerant. (Disclaimer: Not for use on highways to the Danger Zone.)

* The jacket is powered by a lithium-ion battery, suggesting that at least one of the “elements” is ionic lithium (Li+).  Scientists continue to search for additional elements (carbon, zirconium, radon, etc.)

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